Van Gaal breathes again as Man Utd thrash QPR
A comfortable 4-0 victory puts a smile on the Man Utd manager's face - and lifts his team into ninth place
Manchester United 4 QPR 0. Louis van Gaal celebrated his first victory as Manchester United manager as his side thrashed a desperately poor Queen's Park Rangers.
The Red Devils have hardly set the Premier League alight this season, but they roared into life at Old Trafford on Sunday to move up to ninth in the table.
"This is a good start," said van Gaal later, referring to his new-look side that included appearances from recent signings Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind. Two of United's goals came from other fresh faces – Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera – as the faithful cheered what they hope will be the start of a new era at Old Trafford.
There was no mistaking the glee on van Gaal's face as he spoke to the press afterwards, the Dutchman delighted to record his first win in five competitive games as manager.
"I am very happy because of the result and the way we have played," he said. "We were very dominant and scored goals and kept a clean sheet. In ball possession I think we have lost too much of the ball previously. We were more direct and that I like. Also, we have created a lot of chances, although we didn't score enough of them."
All the same, they scored four with Di Maria opening United's account on 24 minutes with a free kick that floated into the Rangers' goal as Rob Green stood statuesque between the sticks. Twelve minutes later Di Maria and Wayne Rooney combined well to tee up Herrera whose low shot fizzed past Green to double the hosts' advantage.
The increasingly ragged Rangers' defence gifted United a third on 44 minutes when Mata and Herrera were allowed the freedom of Old Trafford to set up Rooney who made no mistake with his finish.
Mata made it 4-0 just before the hour mark and with the game won, van Gaal felt able to blood Falcao less than a fortnight after he arrived on loan from Monaco. The Colombian almost scored United's fifth but Green just about managed to parry his shot away on a day when QPR were made to look a very ordinary side.
"I'm very happy for my debut and a first goal," Di Maria told reporters later. "I have been practising those free-kicks this week, so it is not a surprise for me."
Despite the satisfaction with the result Van Gaal knows that bigger tests than Rangers lie ahead. Nonetheless, he believes there is more to come from his new side. "I think we can do much better," he said. "We have very intelligent players. The most important thing is not the system but the philosophy."